/ ˈelɪmənt; NAmE / noun
PART / AMOUNT
[ C ] element (in / of sth) a necessary or typical part of sth :
Cost was a key element in our decision.
The story has all the elements of a soap opera.
Customer relations is an important element of the job.
[ C , usually sing. ] element of surprise, risk, truth, etc. a small amount of a quality or feeling :
We need to preserve the element of surprise.
There appears to be an element of truth in his story.
GROUP OF PEOPLE
[ C , usually pl. ] a group of people who form a part of a larger group or society :
moderate / radical elements within the party
unruly elements in the school
[ C ] a simple chemical substance that consists of atoms of only one type and cannot be split by chemical means into a simpler substance. Gold, oxygen and carbon are all elements.
EARTH / AIR / FIRE / WATER
[ C ] one of the four substances: earth, air, fire and water, which people used to believe everything else was made of
the elements [ pl. ] the weather, especially bad weather :
Are we going to brave the elements and go for a walk?
to be exposed to the elements
elements [ pl. ] the basic principles of a subject that you have to learn first
SYN basics :
He taught me the elements of map-reading.
[ C , usually sing. ] a natural or suitable environment, especially for an animal :
Water is a fish's natural element.
[ C ] the part of a piece of electrical equipment that gives out heat :
The kettle needs a new element.
- in your element
- out of your element
Middle English (denoting fundamental constituents of the world or celestial objects): via Old French from Latin elementum principle, rudiment, translating Greek stoikheion step, component part.